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ME 216: Engineering Metrology

Fundamentals of Limits and Fits

Dr. Suhas S. Joshi, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian

Institute of Technology, Bombay, Powai, MUMBAI – 400 076 (India)
Phone: 91 22 2576 7527 (O) / 2576 8527 ®;

Product Design for Manufacturing

Marketing Functional Operational Durability and

Aspects Aspects Aspects Dependability

Product Design

Economic Manufacturing Aesthetic

Aspects Aspects Aspects

Fig. 1 Typical Stages in a Product Life Cycle

Role of Metrology in Design for Manufacturing

Aspect Fit: It is the interrelation between
dimensions of mating parts
Key Functional before their assembly

Fit between the mating


Tolerances, dimensions on
mating parts
Manufacturing Processes of
& Sequences

Cost of Manufacturing

Fig. 2 Implications of Manufacturing aspects
Evaluation for Limits and Fits

Steps involved in the Evaluation of Limits of Tolerances

Selection of an Appropriate FIT
based on functional requirement

Selection of Type of Shaft and Hole

Selection of Tolerance Grade for

shaft and hole

Evaluation of standard Tolerance

Evaluation of Limits of Tolerances

Fig. 3 Evaluation of Limits of Tolerances
• Precision and Accuracy:
– Precision refers to repeatability
– Accuracy refers of result to the true value

• Accuracy can be found by

Accuracy = (Repeatability) 2 + ( Systematic error ) 2

where, systematic error =True value- mean of set of readings

Limits and Fits - Definitions



Fig. 4 Tolerance Zones [1] 6

Limits and Fits - Definitions
Zero Line: It is a line along which represents the basic size and zero
(or initial point) for measurement of upper or lower deviations.
Basic Size: It is the size with reference to which upper or lower limits
of size are defined.
Shaft and Hole: These terms are used to designate all the external and
internal features of any shape and not necessarily cylindrical.

Hole Designation: By upper case letters from A, B, … Z, Za, Zb, Zc

(excluding I, L, O, Q, W and adding Js, Za, Zb, Zc) - 25 nos. Indian

Shaft Designation: By lower case letters from a, b, … z, za, zb, zc

(excluding i, l, o, q, w and adding js, za, zb, zc) - 25 nos.
Upper Deviation: The algebraic difference between the maximum limit of
size (of either hole or shaft) and the corresponding basic size, like ES, es.
Lower Deviation: The algebraic difference between the minimum limit of size
(of either hole or shaft) and the corresponding basic size, like EI, ei.
Fundamental Deviation: It is one of the two deviations which is chosen to
define the position of the tolerance zone.
Tolerance: The algebraic difference between upper and lower deviations. It is
an absolute value.
Limits of Size: There are two permissible sizes for any particular dimension
between which the actual size lies, maximum and minimum
Basic Shaft and Basic hole: The shafts and holes that have zero fundamental
deviations. The basic hole has zero lower deviation whereas, the basic shaft
has zero upper deviation.

Selection of Fits
Definition of Fit: It is the relation between dimensions of two mating parts
before their assembly.
Selection of Fits

Systems of Fit: There are two systems by which a fits can be accomplished –
1. Hole basis system
2. Shaft basis system

Shafts Clearance fit

Transition fit

Clearance fit Transition fit

Holes Interference fit
‘H’ Hole

‘h’ Shaft
Interference fit

a. Hole Basis system

b. Shaft Basis system

Fig. 7 [a-b] Systems of Fit
Schematic for grades in Indian Stds.

Disposition of all the shafts

and holes with reference to the
zero line

Limits and Fits - Definitions

Zero line
Holes Z
P Zc

p zc
Shafts Zero line

FD h
Schematic of position of various shafts and holes with12
reference to the zero line
Fig. 7 Fundamental deviations for various shafts and holes



Grades of Tolerance

Grade of Tolerance: It is an indication of the level of accuracy. There are 18

grades of tolerances – IT01, IT0, IT1 to IT16
IT01 to IT4 - For production of gauges, plug gauges, measuring instruments
IT5 to IT 7 - For fits in precision engineering applications
IT8 to IT11 – For General Engineering
IT12 to IT14 – For Sheet metal working or press working
IT15 to IT16 – For processes like casting, general cutting work

Grades of Tolerance

Standard Tolerance: Various grades of tolerances are defined using the

‘standard tolerance unit’, (i) in µm, which is a function of basic size [3].

i = 0.45 3 D + 0.001D

where, D (mm) is the geometric mean of the lower and upper diameters of a
particular diameter step within which the chosen the diameter D lies.

Diameter steps in I.S.I are: (a-b, where a is above and b is up to, Refer Table in
the following sheet)

1-3, 3-6, 6-10, 10-18, 18-30, 30-50, 50-80, 80-120, 120-180, 180-250, 250-
315, 315-400 and 400-500 mm
Table for Sizes

Grades of Tolerance

It is understood that the tolerances have parabolic relationship with the size of
the products. As the size increases, the tolerance within which a part can be
manufactured also increases.
IT01 – 0.3 + 0.008D
IT0 – 0.5 + 0.012 D
IT1 – 0.8 + 0.020D
IT2 to IT4 – the values of tolerance grades are placed geometrically between
the tolerance grades of IT1 and IT5.
IT6 – 10 i; IT7 – 16i; IT8 – 25i; IT9 – 40i; IT10 – 64i; IT11 – 100i; IT12 –
160i; IT13 – 250i; IT14 – 400i; IT15 – 640i; IT16 – 1000i.

Formulae for
deviations of
shafts up to size
500 mm

Formulae for fundamental deviations of shafts up to size 500 mm

Formulae for fundamental deviations of shafts up to size 500 - 3150 mm

Selection of Holes

Selection of Shafts

Selection of Fits
Clearance Fits (Hole Basis System):
Shafts Grades Description of fit Application
a, b, c 11 Very large clearance Generally not used
d 8, 9, 10 Loose running Loose pulleys
e 7, 8, 9 Loose clearance Electric motor bearings, heavily
loaded bearing
f 6, 7, 8 Normal running Lubricated bearings (with oil or
grease), pumps and smaller motors,
gear boxes
g 5, 6 Precision running Lightly loaded shafts, sliding spools,
accurate bearings
h 5 to 11 Extreme clearance Sockets and spigots of joints
(preferably for non-
running parts)
Preferred Clearance fits (in practice) [1] : H11/c11, H9/d9, H8/f7, H7/g6 (Guide Fit), 23
H7/h6, C11/h11, D9/h9, F8/h7, G7/h6
Selection of Fits

Transition Fits (Hole Basis System):

Shafts Grades Description of fit Application

js 5, 6, 7 Slight clearance to Very accurate location, couplings,
slight interference spigots, gears,
k 5, 6, 7 No clearance to Precision joints likely to be
little clearance subjected to vibrations
m 5, 6, 7 Slight interference Forced assembly is required
(on average)
n 5, 6, 7 Slight interference Semi-permanent or tight fit
and very little assemblies
Preferred Transition fits [1]: H7/k6, H7/n6, K7/h6, N7/h6

Selection of Fits

Interference Fits (Hole Basis System):

Shafts Grades Description of fit Application

p 6, 7, 8, True interference Fixing bushes, standard press fit
r 5, 6, 7 Interference (but Tight press fit. Keys in key ways
can be dismantled)
s 5, 6, 7 Semi permanent/ Valve seating, collars on shafts
permanent fit
t, u ---- High degree of Permanent assemblies

Preferred Interference fits [1]: H7/p6 (Press fit), H7/s6, H7/u6, P7/h6, S7/h6, U7/h6

Example #1
Evaluate limits and fits for a pair of – Diameter 6 H7/g6
Solution: The size 6 mm lies in the diametral step of 3-6, therefore, D is given
by – D = 3 × 6 = 4.24mm

The value of fundamental tolerance unit is given by –

i = 0.45 3 D + 0.001D
i = 0.45 3 4.24 + 0.001× 4.24
i = 0.7327 µ m
Limits of tolerance for hole H7
The standard tolerance is – 16 i = 16x0.7327 = 11.72 = 12 µm
The fundamental deviation H hole is – 0

Limits of tolerance for g6 shaft

The standard tolerance is – 10 i 10x0.7327 = 7.327 = 8 µm
Fundamental deviation for g shaft = −2.5 D 0.34 = −2.5(4.24)0.34 = −4.085 = −4µ m
Example #1

12 µm H7 Hole
4 µm
5.996 g6 Shaft 8 µm
Disposition of tolerance zone around the zero line
Maximum clearance = Maximum size of hole - Minimum size of shaft
= 6.012 – 6.988 = 0.024 mm = 24 µm
Minimum clearance = Minimum size of hole - Maximum size of shaft
= 6.000 - 6.996 = 0.004 mm = 4 µm
The type of fit is Clearance.
Example #2

Calculate the limits of sizes for φ 20 P7/h6 and identify the fit.
Therefore, D is given by –
D = 18 × 24 = 20.78mm
The fundamental tolerance unit i is given by –

i = 0.45 3 20.78 + 0.001× 20.78 = 1.258µ m

Limits evaluation for P7 Hole

The fundamental deviation for p shaft is – IT7 + 0 to 5

The fundamental deviation P7 hole – IT6 + 0 to 5 =10 i + 5
10 ×1.258 + 5 = 17.58 = 18µ m
For grade 7 the standard tolerance is – 16 i = 16x1.258 = 20.128 = 21 µm
Example #2
Limits evaluation for h6 Shaft
The fundamental deviation for h shaft is – 0
For grade 6 the standard tolerance is – 10 i = 10x1.258 = 12.58 = 13 µm
18 µm h6 Shaft
19.982 19.987
21 µm P7 Hole
Disposition of tolerance zone around the zero line
Maximum clearance = Maximum size of hole - Minimum size of shaft
= 19.982 – 19.987 = - 0.005 = - 5 µm
Maximum Interference = Minimum size of hole - Maximum size of shaft
= 19.961 - 20.000 –= - 0.039 mm = - 39 µm
The fit is Interference. But it can become Transition if you choose some value
of FD for p shaft between IT7 + 1 to 5 µm
Taylor’s Principle of Gaging

• The go gage should be designed to check the form

• The no-go gage checks the individual sections

Go gage:
• Plug gage for maximum material
dimension, i.e., smallest hole
• Testing the function, i.e.,
shape and pairing dimension

No Go gage:
• Ball gage for minimum material
dimension, biggest hole
• Testing the maximum dimension


References and other study material are available at –

3. R. K. Jain, Engineering Metrology, Khanna Publishers, New Delhi (India)